‘Focusing on every moment’: Girls Tennis Rounds Out Historic Season


Elizabeth Diamond

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Girls Tennis team has made school history yet again.


Nearing the end of the season, they won their first state championship ever for SPF, and just two days before that, they won their first sectional final against Millburn in 50 years.


The Tournament of Champions match against Newark Academy officially marked the end of the tennis season, shortly after the Raiders won their state title.


After their astounding amount of success this fall, the Raiders’ overall record was 13-3. Senior Anna Szczuka secured the spot of first singles, while the sophomore twins, Diya and Diti Nainwal, played second and third singles. This season, Szczuka won a sectional state title and experienced phenomenal success in all of her matches.


Over the course of the last four years coaching girls tennis, head coach Luke Piede was given the opportunity of working with three of the best singles players in the state. Prior to that, he was the Boys JV tennis coach for six years.


At the start of the season, Piede felt extremely confident with his team after going undefeated last year.


“Our goal [this year] was to just focus on what we were doing at every moment and hope that would carry us as far as we could,” Piede said.


As the second-to-last match of the season, the Raiders beat Tenafly easily with a score of 4-1. Exactly six days prior, they had won their sectional semifinals against Chatham in a much closer match, with a score of 3-2.


In her match against Chatham, Diti Nainwal had to return to the courts the next day to finish the match after it got too dark to play. In the third set, she was only two points away from SPF completely being out of the state tournament.


Under the difficult circumstances in which she played in, it was crucial for her to stay entirely focused on the game itself, rather than the pressure of

“Momentum means so much in tennis, where a single point can take you from dominating a match to being dominated in a match,” Piede said.



Momentum means so much in tennis, where a single point can take you from dominating a match to being dominated in a match,” Piede said.


Their well-deserved state championship victory came with a great sense of relief to everyone on the team and the joyous feeling of ‘we won it.’ Directly after winning the match, it took some time for reality to sink in – that they had won a state title for the first time ever.


Diti Nainwal, playing third singles, was the deciding match in the state championship.


“There was more on the line and there was more that I got out of it,” Diti Nainwal said. “It was more rewarding and satisfying.”


Both Diti and her sister, Diya, have been playing tennis for about six to seven years now, including their several years on the team. Outside of playing on the SPF team, they practice on their own about five to six days a week.


Piede has thoroughly enjoyed watching the tennis girls play at such a high level in high school and watching them play their hardest in every match.


“I was happy for them to have that moment, to really get the recognition for being the best team in Scotch Plains history for tennis. They are that; it’s undeniable.” Piede said.


Looking to next year, the Nainwal sisters and Nikita Sahasrabudha are expected to take the singles spots, while Jion Shim most likely will be returning to first doubles. Three spots on the Varsity Girls Tennis team will be open for any of the existing JV players in the fall of 2022.